1988 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 V6




Alternator recon at 147,000.

Starter motor recon at 147,000.

Engine and gearbox currently being changed due to gearbox clutch bands burning out. Still not sure as to the cause.

General Comments:

I love everything about my bonny, and would never get rid off her. Probably the best car I've ever had.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 31st May, 2008

1988 Pontiac Bonneville SSE 3.8 V6


Cheap luxury and surprisingly economical


When I purchased the car the ABS was kicking in unnecessarily whenever I came to a stop, which meant that the pedal would judder when braking from 10mph down to a standstill. This was caused by a faulty ABS sender which is part of the CV Joint so a new CV joint was needed to fix this fault.

At 135,000km the starter motor failed and had to be reconditioned.

The sunroof leaks, which can be irritating as you tend to get dripped on while cornering when there has been heavy rain.

General Comments:

A very smooth comfortable car with plenty of room for 5 adults. I'm 6 foot 3 inches tall and I find I have ample space although headroom could be better - despite the fact that the drivers' seat adjusts for height. I think the sunroof is the culprit as it eats into roof space. Apart from that the driving position is very comfortable and the seats are among the most comfortable I have sat it - they are soft on the backside yet also offer plenty of support. The steering wheel adjusts for rake.

The cabin looks and feels luxurious although the plastic wood is akin to what you would find in an '80s Rover. However, the leather is of great quality and it all feels very solidly screwed together. The dashboard lights up like a Christmas tree when you switch on the ignition as there are so many lights, dials, and displays.

Equipment-wise it definitely ranks as "fully loaded", and is very impressive for a 1988 car. It has electric seats that seem to be almost infinitely adjustable, automatic climate control air-conditioning, cruise control, electric windows/mirrors/sunroof, power steering, ABS, an engine block heater, an electronic compass display, steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, and numerous courtesy lights. There is even a "Driver Information Center" screen, which warns you about everything from low fuel to low washer fluid and when to rotate the tyres!

It's not terribly fast as it only has 165 horses to haul around nearly 1600 kilos, but it is quick enough for most people and can be made to move quickly by manipulating the gearbox.

The brakes aren't brilliant... Rear drums on a 1600 kilo car? Hmmm.

The steering is a little on the vague side although it is nicely weighted.

The ride is good - not pillow soft, but soft enough.

It handles pretty well, but a lot better than it feels, if that makes sense. The body rolls a bit and the vague steering doesn't help, but you can safely corner at surprisingly high speeds. It is very sure-footed and won't bite - you just have to trust it. There is no tire-squeal and it never feels as though it will lose grip.

Other plus points: It sounds fantastic, and it has a surprisingly tight turning circle so isn't too stressful to park. 25-27mpg from a 3.8 V6 is very impressive too, and makes it manageable as a daily driver.

Overall, a brilliant car for the money (I paid only £700 for it). It still makes me smile every time I drive it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd October, 2006